Yesterday, I officially completed my first ever light novel project.
It’s official: the book has been published, and I’ll be credited in the digital and (future) physical release. It’s my biggest credit to date, and one of the biggest projects I’ve ever tackled. I even tackled it on a bit of a rush too, which makes me feel quite proud.
I’ve even got a comped copy of Vol. 2 -the volume I worked on- that’ll get added to my Kindle, just for fun, though…I sense it’ll be strange to read something I worked with so intimately. I might let myself have som critical distance between when I read my work and today.
That all being said, what I want to think out loud about today doesn’t concern my process or even my accomplishment. Instead, it’s something else.
Initially, I was going to be receiving chapter-by-chapter feedback on the project I just wrapped on, which would have meant about twenty-six chapters of feedback. I’m incredibly thankful that I didn’t: I think that might have been overwhelming for such a big first project.
Still, I got a lot of feedback, and I’m still mentally parsing it all, at least in the back of my mind. Mind you, the feedback was both direct and caring: it’s clear that this was more of a critique, and not a criticism, at least not in a negative way. Still, it was critique, and was corrective: it revealed that there’s a lot I need to do in order to make my next project shine.
If I’m being honest, it was really, really hard to read through everything. Harder still to internalize it over the last day and some. I made hundreds of changes across the length of the novel: nearly a thousand. Yet there’s a lot more I need to do when I edit and go through documents. There’s a lot I need to learn and keep in mind going ahead.
I think it’s easy to take feedback as a criticism of your work directly: a ding agaisnt all the time, effort, and thought that you put in as an editor. I think it’s even easier to take it as a ding against your skills, as a direct statement that you aren’t good enough. I think it’s really easy to talk yourself into a place where you stop seeing critique as critique and see it as criticism and thus, a reflection of what you can’t do versus what you simply might have not done.
However…I take a lot of comfort in my feedback: it’s a sign that my contract isn’t going to be tossed out. It’s a sign that there’s more work for me, that there’s another chance. It’s a sign that there’s a Project No. 2 waiting for me.
It’s a sign that someone’s rooting for me and wants me to grow.
Ultimately, it’s a sign that the publisher I’m working for really has my back. After all, feedback takes time: clearly, my publisher thinks I’m worth time. Feedback is effort: it’s time out of the work day, it’s going over documents and drafts and combing through for all the little things my eyes didn’t catch.
I think that’s all really important to remember going forward. Without this feedback, I wouldn’t be able to grow. What a gift that is.
Yes, I’ve got a lot of feedback. Yes, it was hard since I’m still so new to working with light novels. But hey: I’ve got plenty of room to grow into that. Time is on my side: I know I’ll knock my next light novel project out of the park.
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